Posted by Danny Goldin on July 9, 2010 Jump To Comments
Stuart Scott and other multiple sources have contacted me and claimed that any media outlet that has anything to do with sports is required to post material about LeBron James, so I figured I’d step up to the plate and meet the quota for BrentFavre.com. There actually are some connections to be drawn between LeBron and this site. As I discussed a few months back, the hoopla surrounding LeBron was somewhat similar to the circus that has surrounded Brent every offseason for the past half decade.
Now, like Brent, LeBron is seen as a traitor by the fanbase that grew to love him. Sure, LeBron’s seven years with the Cavs were not even half as much as the 16 Brent put in with the Packers, but LeBron was a part of his city for much longer than just his pro career, becoming a household name in Akron by the time he hit double digits. Further adding to Cleveland’s sting is the fact that LeBron flat out had a choice, 100 percent his own to make, as to whether or not to come back to his city. Brent’s decision on whether to stick with the Packers may not have been such a one-sided choice. With that said, here are my various thoughts on LeBron’s decision, both positive and negative, regarding whether or not it was the right move on his part:
LeBron made the right choice
- I do believe that, if all LeBron was thinking about was “Where can I go to win the most games and win the most titles?”, he made the right choice. I do not agree with anyone that says Miami will struggle to mesh. You have two of the top three hoopers, and another guy in the top 15, all on the same team; they’ll figure it out. They’ve played excellently together for Team USA. While they’re all used to having the ball in their hands, they also play great off the ball and are all good-to-elite passers. I believe Miami will win three-to-five titles over the next five years, especially if they can find a shooter (rumor is they may be able to sign Mike Miller following their unloading of Beasley).
- I know Cleveland feels betrayed, but I don’t think the Cavs were even an option for LeBron. They have no flexibility with their roster, and LeBron’s supporting cast has proven over the past few seasons that they couldn’t do enough to win him a title. Remember, LeBron played great in the playoffs two years ago, and the Cavs were still ousted relatively easily by Orlando. I know he had a few rough moments in that Celtics series this year, but overall, LeBron has had a fantastic playoff career, but just hasn’t received enough help.
- I loved owner Dan Gilbert’s open letter to the fans, as it was unbelievably entertaining to read, but it was also COMPLETELY AND UNACCEPTABLY immature for a person in Gilbert’s position. Wade has already commented on Gilbert’s letter, saying that it only made LeBron feel that much better about his decision, and I completely agree. Shame on him. I would love to see Gilbert say that to LeBron’s face.
- People were bashing LeBron left and right for how he handled the whole process with his decision, and it certainly could have been played out another less-volatile way. Still, included in the LeBron bashing were people ridiculing his decision to give the proceeds of the night’s events to charity. Are you kidding me? Who are you to infer what his reasons may or may not have been? Sure, he may have had some selfish intentions, but name me a single celebrity that doesn’t. The fact of the matter is that it’s better to give to charity than to not give to charity. “It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.” – Katie Holmes from Batman Begins
- Sure, the Heat may be Wade’s team right now, but who says it will be that way forever? Wade is three years older than James and clearly more injury-prone. Also, LeBron was the two-time reigning MVP before he made his decision. Afterward, he’s still the two-time reigning MVP. Just saying.
- There’s something to be said about playing with your friends, and LeBron is known to be great friends with Wade and Bosh. I know when I go to the gym and get in a pick-up game, I have much more fun, and play with much better chemistry, when I’m on a team with my friends. These three guys are human too and are playing the same game, they just happen to be playing it at a much higher level.
Bron Bron screwed this one up
- This absolutely tarnishes LeBron’s legacy. Sure, he may win a ring or five, but what’s the meaning behind those rings? They won’t be the rings that he carried Miami to. They’ll be the rings that he was able to hand-pick by joining a stacked roster that already had two stars. This is somewhat off topic, but Gary Payton comes to mind. He was an elite player in his prime but was never able to win a ring with Seattle. In the twilight of his career, he chose to sign with a stacked L.A. team, which didn’t work out, then signed with a stacked (ironically) Miami team, and got his ring. Still, did that ring really add anything to Payton’s legacy? In my mind, not much. He pretty much just inherited it by being around the right people. I actually think this move was more understandable in Payton’s case since he was past his prime. Never once until now have three alpha dogs in their prime join forces, and it really diminishes the sense of each players’ individual value.
- More on LeBron’s legacy… one of the things I loved about LeBron was that, when I was watching him, I felt like, maybe, just maybe, when all was said and done with his career, I might have been watching the best player ever to dribble a basketball. Sure, MJ set the standard almost impossibly high, but the combination of LeBron’s skill set, size and athleticism is unmatched by anyone, ever. Now, I just don’t think there’s any way he can ever be considered the best player ever. We’ll never know, because even if he wins, people can always say it was at least partially his supporting cast.
- I know the MLB Players Union always steps in and strongly encourages all free agents to take the best offer they can get, and I don’t see why the NBA Players Union didn’t do the same. There’s a salary cap for a reason: so that teams can’t stack rosters. Despite the fact that LeBron, Wade and Bosh are all clearly max contract players, they screwed with the process by accepting less money than they could have. It’s really unfair to the rest of the NBA, especially a team like Atlanta that is forced to pay an inferior player in Joe Johnson a ridiculous $5 million or so more PER YEAR if they wanted any chance at retaining him. Think about it… Miami gets to have LeBron, Wade and Bosh, each at significantly less money than Atlanta gets Joe Johnson.
- Was it worth all this to polarize so many people? Maybe LeBron truly doesn’t care, and if so, than more power to him, but the fact of the matter is that he just went from being one of the most incredibly popular and respected athletes to one of the top-five most hated in the world. I have to believe this is all very bad for his brand.
- He should have gone to Chicago. There, it would have still clearly been HIS team, and I think they still could have been the top title contender, ahead of the Lakers, and nearly as good as Miami is now. A rising star in Rose, elite big defender in Noah, elite big scorer in Boozer, an unpopular but still decent Deng, and fine young role players like Taj Gibson and James Johnson. If for some reason he didn’t want Chicago, then he should have picked New York or New Jersey. The Knicks have a great big in Amar’e, an elite shooter in Gallinari, nice young pieces in Wilson Chandler and Toney Douglas (and now Anthony Randolph and Kelenna Azubuike), not to mention that they have over $11 million coming off the books when Eddy Curry is gone after the season. As for the Nets, they have an All-Star point guard in Devin Harris, a future All-Star big who’s great on both ends of the court in Brook Lopez, and nice young pieces in Terrence Williams, Courtney Lee, Derrick Favors and Kris Humphries. All three of those teams would have absolutely been title contenders, and possibly title favorites, if LeBron would have chosen them. His legacy would have still been in tact, without people believing he copped out, as is the common perception right now.
You can e-mail Danny at firstname.lastname@example.org